South Branch Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Trail

road with trees going to south branch oconto barrier free fishing trail.
The drive through the National Forest is AMAZING!!!

I can’t believe I’m about to share our secret spot. As much as I want to keep out spot to ourselves, I feel obligated to share the best things and places within Wisconsin. That way everyone can enjoy the best of what Wisconsin has to offer. This place is The South Branch Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Trail. It is part of the Southern Branch of the Oconto River Fisheries Area.

What I CANNOT share is how we found it. But I will say it is in my TOP FIVE favorite places to be. It is currently closed to the public because the fishing piers are being replaced. It is suppose to be ready by fishing season. The The Barrier Free Fishing Trail an amazing little gem of an area. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have been to in the state. It is so quiet and peaceful. We are always the only people there. I selfishly hope that remains… This may or may not be where we got our Christmas Tree.

lots of trees at the South Branch Oconto Barrier free Fishing Trail
The forest brings me peace and a restored sense of purpose!

For those anglers that prefer stream fishing, we have the South Branch Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Trail, one of few trails of it’s kind across the country. This 1/4 mile fishing trail parallels the South Branch of the Oconto River in the Lakewood-Laona Ranger District, which is a quality brook and brown trout stream. The trail provides access to 11 fishing sites, ranging from flat spots along the shoreline to cantilever decks that allow the user to be out over the stream. The trail is a cooperative effort of the Forest and nine partner organizations.

How to Get to the South Branch Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Trail

If coming from Shawano take State Highway 55 Past Keshena to CTY W. This is about 20 miles north of Keshena. Take a right on CTY W. Follow this for a few miles and turn left on CTY T. Follow CTY T for a few miles and the area Barrier Free Fishing Area will be on the left hand side of the road. You can also go south on CTY T from State Highway 64. Likewise you go west on CTY W from Mountain to get there.

The sound of the stream = tranquility!

Things to Do There

There is much more to do here than just fish. Although no one would blame if that is all you did. The Southern Branch of Oconto River has produced many trophy brown and brook trouts over the years.

The trail throughout the park are short and has several access easy access points. There also is a restroom, parking area, campfire pit, and 2 sites to stay the night. The entire experience is heavenly! Don’t miss out and come up to spend the day hiking, fishing, picnicking, wildlife watching and just plain relaxing. There are several unique forest areas nearby to explore as well.

Map of South Branch Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Trail
A map of the trail Courtesy of Green Bay Trouts Unlimited

You can download and print a map of the entire area here: South Branch Oconto River Fisheries Area. The park just closed for a short time. It should be redone and ready to go just in time for opening day. They are updating the entire area. They are repairing damage from heaving frost, updating the areas that are closest to the stream, and also putting in anti-erosion measures along the trail.

Fishing Regulations

Before You Drop a Line: The Forest Service provides habitat for a wide range of fish and wildlife while the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is the agency primarily responsible for setting fishing seasons, size and limits, as well as license fees. Anglers must follow all the laws of the WDNR. Fishing licenses are required for all fishing (both residents and non-residents) and may be purchased through the WDNR at agency field offices or at most bait & tackle stores and sporting goods stores in Wisconsin. Non-resident licenses are available to individuals and families for 4-days, 15-days, and the entire season. In June each year the WDNR offers a free fishing weekend. For specific information on fishing regulations and license fees visit the Wisconsin DNR’s website.

The Forest is my Therapist

The forest is so full of ways to destress, unwind, and get back to nature. I cry almost every time we go. The therapy that trees and clean air bring is priceless. My day job is very stressful and I use the woods for medicinal purposes. I also do everything I can to give back by making sure we are respectful and always leave it cleaner than we arrive. My husband makes sure of that!

Trees in snow at the South Branch Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Trail
The sunshine gives me hope and tranquility always!

2020 and 2021 are not what most of us have expected they would be. The ONE thing I will say is that it has brought me closer to nature and closer to God. I spend more time outside now than I have in years and for that I will always be grateful! May this place bring you as much peace as it has given me. I wish you peace, good vibes, and lots more adventures like this.

  1. […] (which is the fun part right) and started to hike in. I actually told you about our spot in this blog post. Keep it a secret though, okay?  We found quite a few trees that we liked.  We always say a […]

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South Branch Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Trail

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